Newcastle United have reportedly stolen a march on the chasing pack and now find themselves in pole position to sign Lille defender Sven Botman.
That’s according to a recent report from Football Insider, who claims the Magpies are confident Botman will sign on the dotted line after already verbally agreeing to personal terms at the start of the year.
Currently playing for Lille, with a contract that is not set to expire until 2025, Newcastle United will still need to reach an agreement with the Dutchman’s employers.
However, with huge sums at their disposal and the player seemingly keen on a switch, it is going to be hard to imagine a scenario where Eddie Howe’s side cannot convince the Ligue 1 club to give the green light.
Speaking to The Athletic back in January about the defender’s eagerness to come to England, Newcastle United executive Amanda Staveley said: “We were 19th going into the window. So we had that, an illiquid market, and the complexity of COVID-19, which meant clubs didn’t want to sell because they didn’t know where their squads would end up.
“We had to encourage players – ‘we’ll be a safe place for you, we’ll deliver and grow’. Some desperately wanted to come to us, like Sven (Botman), who still does very much and has talked very openly about that.
“Coming through all that showed us we can do it, that we can stick to our plan and if we get criticised on the last day for ‘oh, you’re going after Jesse (Lingard)’, well, Jesse wanted to come to us.
“We did everything. We never stopped. From the start to the finish, we did not stop working.”
Since joining Lille from Ajax’s under-21s side in 2020 in a deal worth just £7.2m, Botman has gone on to feature in 75 matches, in all competitions, directly contributing to five goals along the way.